Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

More Recycling Won’t Solve Plastic Pollution

Scientific American: “The only thing worse than being lied to is not knowing you’re being lied to. It’s true that plastic pollution is a huge problem, of planetary proportions. And it’s true we could all do more to reduce our plastic footprint. The lie is that blame for the plastic problem is wasteful consumers and that changing our individual habits will fix it. Recycling plastic is to saving the Earth what hammering a nail is to halting a falling skyscraper. You struggle to find a place to do it and feel pleased when you succeed. But your effort is wholly inadequate and distracts from the real problem of why the building is collapsing in the first place. The real problem is that single-use plastic—the very idea of producing plastic items like grocery bags, which we use for an average of 12 minutes but can persist in the environment for half a millennium—is an incredibly reckless abuse of technology. Encouraging individuals to recycle more will never solve the problem of a massive production of single-use plastic that should have been avoided in the first place…”

See also the Washington Post – How to break your plastic, foil and paper addiction in the kitchen: “…According to marine research organization Algalita, Americans throw out 185 pounds of plastic per person each year, and National Geographic reported in 2017 that just 9 percent of all plastic worldwide is recycled. The first plastic sandwich bags were introduced in 1957…The truth is, both plastic bags and aluminum foil can be recycled (but only if you live somewhere that offers recycling for those specific products), and they can biodegrade in landfills (although that could take anywhere from 50 to hundreds of years). According to a study published last year in the journal Science Advances, about 60 percent of all plastic that has been produced since the 1950s is sitting in landfills around the world, noting that “none of the mass-produced plastics biodegrade in a meaningful way.”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.